Mainstream Schooling a Child With Autism
Many parents of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) affected children choose to put their child in a mainstream school, either from the very beginning of their schooling or sometimes a bit later on.
Certainly mainstream schools are geared for a mainly academic curriculum, and even the special units which most Autistic, Aspergers (ASD) children would be attending are in most cases more academically inclined towards the education of the child, however it is arguable whether the child may benefit from such an environment. Certainly every individual is different in their abilities to learn and cope in such situations.
Problems Associated With Mainstream Schooling
One of the main problems associated with ASD children in mainstream schooling is without a doubt acceptance from other students. Unfortunately it is the ugly truth, kids can be very cruel and this can impact severely on the development of an already sensitive individual with learning difficulties.
In a perfect world a special unit in a mainstream school would have a very high student to teacher ratio, be physically and mentally safe (safe in respect to barriers to avoid wandering and safe from bullying and harassing) and have a flexible curriculum to cater for the widely varying abilities of the ASD students in certain age groups. There may be such a place or places, but in reality it would be very difficult and expensive to achieve. Add to this that as much as we would like, kids will be kids and the bullying and harassing, like it or not, would be one of the more difficult hurdles to jump, no parent that I know would want their child, Autistic or not, to go through the trauma of being a target.
Advantages of Mainstream Schooling
The pro’s of mainstream schooling is that the curriculum would be more academically focused for a child of that age and they would mix socially in class, in the yard and possibly out of school giving the ASD child more exposure to what is deemed to be “normal social behaviour” and thus giving them a better start to an independent future. This aspect is certainly in contrast to special schools which cater for individuals with a wide variety of disabilities and for some higher functioning Autistic, or ASD children may not be the best social learning environment.
Decision Making for Schooling a Child With Autism
When making a decision on which path to take for the schooling of an Autistic, Aspergers (ASD) child a parent or carer certainly has to be brutally honest with assessing whether their child would benefit and or even cope with which ever path they take. Certainly seek advise and opinions from a professional that knows your child such as a Doctor, Therapist, Psychologist, Family Advocate, or Disabilities consultant.
I certainly know from experience that this subject hits a raw nerve with most parents of children in the spectrum, however it is a truth we must face head on if we are to do the best for our child. This is just some points about choosing schooling for a child with Autism, Aspergers (ASD) or special needs, and is sourced only from our experience and opinions.
Let us know your experiences / thoughts on this subject and leave a reply!
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